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Plant History Database


The Plant History Database is a Microsoft Access application designed for tracking the history of plant materials held by gardens, arboretums, etc.

Information Subjects

The database is designed to rigorously track:

More detailed description of major information subjects is provided on the about/data model page.

Future revisions of the database are expected to include:

Rigorous Data Storage

The underlying data structures are specifically designed to avoid common database deficiencies. Data structures are also designed for generality, to match the basic information needs of most users.

In addition, nearly all code lists used to populate drop-down lists, etc are user-customizable.

Plant Names

Plant names are rigorously managed:

Each full, unique plant name used within the database is defined only once
Since names are not entered repeatedly, spelling errors are minimized.
Each assignment of a name to an individual plant accession is linked to a pre-defined name
Construction of formal plant names used within the garden can be easily restricted to persons with appropriate expertise.
Changes in names are immediately reflected throughout the database
After a change to a defined name, all accessions and specimens using that name will show the updated value
Name components such as family or genus names are defined only once
Since name components are not entered repeatedly, spelling errors are minimized
Each assignment of a name to a plant accession indicates start and end date for that use
History of name changes due to taxonomic revisions or misidentification can the be readily tracked
Name components are strongly typed
A name component marked for use as a family designation can only be used for that purpose, etc

Record Selection Tools

The database includes a series of sophisticated record selection forms that provide the user powerful abilities to search for records.

Records matching the user's specifications may then be viewed, edited, or summarized using numerous pre-defined reports. Some reports are specifically designed to creation of data export files.

Reports typically include a description of the selection criteria used to identify included records.

Multiple-User Design

The database is specifically designed to facilitate multiple user access.

Later conversions of the server component to DBMSs such as MySQL, SQL*Server, Postgres, etc. will offer higher performance than current MS-Access implementations.

Open Source Licensing

The application is distributed by Bednar Consulting under the open source Gnu Lesser General Public License.

Base For Customization

Because the base application was designed for generality, and is provided under a generous open source license, it provides an excellent starting point for modifications required by groups with unique information needs. No need to develop common core functions from scratch. Technical documentation provided on this web site should allow a skilled developer to revise the system as needed.

Technical Documentation

Available technical documentation should facilitate the work of third party developers or suitably skilled garden staff